Assumptions are the Antithesis of Appreciation~ Way 15
Now we ask you, brothers and sisters, to acknowledge those who work hard among you, who care for you in the Lord and who admonish you. Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work.
1 Thessalonians 5:12,13
In this series we have talked about fishbowl living and the public nature of a pastor’s ministry. One of the results of public ministry is that it is easy to make assumptions or judgments about the pastor and his family based on the notion that one knows all there is to know about the pastor and his work.
In appreciating our pastors, it is important to understand that no one will ever know all that a pastor does. This includes the pastor’s wife. Although a pastor’s work IS public, there are aspects of it that are private for very good reason. Counseling issues, financial obligations, contentious meetings, confrontation of sin issues- these are all areas that require discretion and wisdom. Confidentiality is crucial in many of these circumstances.
As a young(er!) pastor’s wife, the assumptions that people made about my husband surprised me. But I have learned from talking to many pastor’s wives that this is not uncommon. Some typical assumptions are based on expectations- my pastor didn’t visit me while I was in the hospital; he must not care. My pastor didn’t notice that I wasn’t in church on Sunday; I must not be important. Our youth pastor doesn’t hang out with my kid; he must not like youth.
These assumptions are extremely hurtful to a pastor. When I would hear these things, everything within me would want to defend my husband, to say you have no idea what you are talking about!!!! God has worked on my heart over the years and I have learned to Be still and KNOW that He is God (Ps. 46:10) and I cling to this verse- The Lord will fight for you, you need only to be still (Exodus 14:14). I have seen the difference between when we have fought back and when we have sought to be faithful and trusted God to work in His timing. The latter is always best (even though it might not feel that way in the moment!).
A great way to appreciate your pastor is to understand that you do not know all of the work he does behind the scenes and that it is unfair to make assumptions about the state of his heart. If you are feeling hurt, talk to your pastor about it. If he is truly seeking to be a shepherd, he will listen.
Side note: this is a two way street. When pastors are hurt, they can begin to make assumptions as well. This issue requires great humility and maturity. Pray for your pastor!
Way 15: Appreciate your pastor by not making assumptions.